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Investment Q&A

Not investment advice or solicitation to buy/sell securities. Do your own due diligence and/or consult an advisor.

Q: Dear 5i
My mother-in-law has a substantial amount of GIC money coming due and was wondering what to do with it re reinvesting . At 93 she is very conservative with her money with all investments being in GICs , Bonds and some mutual funds . She relies on her bank for investing information and investing which concerns me a bit .
She mentioned wanting to get more investment earnings from dividends as opposed to interest income because of the more favourable tax treatment . I did mention to her that she could achieve that with large cap dividend paying stocks or possibly ETFs but at a little greater risk .
I think she would be better off with an ETF rather than a mutual fund but was not sure which ETF might suite her the best . Should she invest in municipal , gov`t bonds or a Bond ETF ? With interest rates not yet peaking i`m concerned that buying bonds now may not be the best time as bond prices go down with rising interest rates as you know . GIC rates are higher now so i`m thinking that may be the way to go for her .
I realize you can`t personalize your answer but a general guideline would be much appreciated . She does not have high income needs as her CPP and OAS covers most of her monthly expenses except maybe for $300-$350 .
Bill C

Read Answer Asked by Bill on August 22, 2022

Q: What specific ETFs suggestions would make a diversified portfolio

Read Answer Asked by Nick on August 02, 2022

Q: Hi 5i,

Looking for your top 2 or 3 fixed income recommendations for the market we're in, and where you feel we may be headed in the next 12-24 months. Looking for some bond ETFs, preferably Canadian listed.

Criteria is primarily capital preservation with some return to blunt the impact of inflation, and of course liquidity. I want to hold dry powder for buying opportunities I believe will come with recession, but I hate the idea of sitting in cash.


Read Answer Asked by Ryan on July 27, 2022

Q: Hi 5i team,

If you were to do a bond ETF portfolio to complement equity and other holdings, what (Cdn-listed) ETFs would you choose for balanced exposure to a range of market environments? Long-term registered account. I am thinking:

XBB--Canadian universe
VGAB--Global universe
XSTP--Short term US inflation-linked government


Read Answer Asked by Chris on June 30, 2022

Q: Hi Ryan,
Several years ago I engaged with 5i for a portfolio analysis. I'm a recently retired investor. 5i strongly encouraged me to include a fixed income component to stabilize portfolio fluctuations and lower volatility.

With that advice and for tax purposes I purchased XBB, CLF, and PMIF into my RRSP. Now that the interest rates are marching steadily upwards I'm in a significant capital loss situation on my portfolio's bond allocation.

At this point do you suggest I just hold through the cycle and absorb the loss or should I sell and reallocate funds? Perhaps into some solid Canadian dividend payers? (eg. GWO?)

As always, much appreciate your advice and guidance in these unprecedented times. Thank-you.

Read Answer Asked by Maury on June 16, 2022

Q: I recognize this is a timing question so apologies in advance. My portfolio is 100% equities (no bonds). As I approach retirement I am thinking of moving 20-25% of my RSP/LIRA into bond ETF's. With rising rates and high inflation am I best to wait this out until we get closer to the end of the rate hiking cycle? If I was to time it perfectly (I know, I know) would it be to buy the bond funds at the interest rate peak? Please recommend a few ETF's to achieve a balanced bond portfolio and any thoughts you have on timing this.

Read Answer Asked by Robert on April 05, 2022

Q: Hi 5i Team,

I have held a balanced Canadian Couch Potato Portfolio with the above etfs in my son's RESP which i started when he was born in 2009. The portfolio has done pretty well (in my books at least) at 8% annual return. I am now looking at a 6 year time horizon for when he will need to begin to draw from the RESP. I am thinking of starting to rotate toward more conservative holdings as the timeline for needing the funds draws closer. Under "normal" circumstances from what i have learned this would mean moving more into bonds at this point but I am having trouble believing this is appropriate in the current market. With interest rates and inflation both rising i am wondering if low debt dividend stocks might be a better bet to hold onto purchasing power in this time frame? Maybe something something like CDZ vs XBB? I know you can not suggest specific portfolio recommendations but looking for suggestions/best bets for maintaining value and keeping up with inflation over this time frame.


Read Answer Asked by Peter on April 01, 2022

Q: The general rise in interest rates continued during the first quarter of 2022, continuing its pressure on the price of fixed income securities.
I would like to have your opinion.
Is it a good idea to buy fixed income indices right now like the Canadian Bond Index or the Canadian Real Return Bond Index or the High Yield Bond Index? What kind of return can we expect?

Read Answer Asked by Serge on March 31, 2022

Q: Hello Team

I purchased XRB about a year ago or so on the thought that the ETF would do well during times of inflation. Was this reasoning incorrect?

This ETF has lost value since then and the distribution has been flat. Can you shed any light on this? Is it just a matter of time for the hedge against inflation to play out?

Thanks for your insight.

Read Answer Asked by Rino on March 15, 2022

Q: Have these ETF's in my portfolio for at least 5 years. With the current interest rates environment... keep or swap? If swap which one? What would be a better option?

Thanks for your great service


Read Answer Asked by Kevin on March 11, 2022

Q: 65 yr old retiring this year. I hold the following: XAW (35%), XBB (20%), XIC (12%), CDZ (7%), ZSP (7%), VTI (7%), ZIC, VTI and ENB at 5% each.
In view of the current conditions, would you increase the fixed asset portion and reduce equity? Which ones would you add to and which ones would you reduce/remove?

Read Answer Asked by Rosemin on February 25, 2022

Q: Portolio Analytics shows that I'm woefully short in fixed income. I am wholly unfamiliar with the category - is it as simple as shopping for the best GIC rate, or are there other, better options I should consider? Please give me some recommendations. Thanks.

Read Answer Asked by Ben on February 23, 2022

Q: I have used hfr to park cash for several years. With rates about to rise I want to park some additional cash there but wondering if there is/are other short-term note etfs you can recommend for comparison.

Thanks very much.


Read Answer Asked by Michael on February 17, 2022

Q: I am trying to understand bond diversification better. I have a long term portfolio of mostly equity exposures and some XBB. Do you generally recommend further diversifying bond holdings? Eg to an inflation protected fund or more global exposure or specific maturity profile (eg shorter maturities)? If so could you recommend ETFs for diversification purposes?

I don’t want to over complicate things but also want diversification to different market scenarios in the spirit of an « all weather » portfolio. In particular real return bonds seem useful for this compared to XBB. I would be grateful for your thoughts. Thank you very much.

Read Answer Asked by Chris on January 11, 2022

Q: Why is there such a variance in the performance of these bond funds. XBB seems to be the lowest and FTB the best with PMIF the second. What would you recommend holding in a portfolio. I am a 79 year old with a private pension.

Thank you.

Read Answer Asked by Donald on January 11, 2022

Q: I have about 10% of my portfolio in these bond ETFs XBB 2%, CLF 4%, XSB 2%, XSH 1%, PMIF 1%. They have shown a negative performance recently with CLF down 7%. The coupon reduces the losses. Will increased interest rates improve their performance? An alternative is to reduce my exposure and buy something like BCE with a low beta and a better yield (5% +). I am 79 years old and have pension income. My portfolio is conservative holding a large proportion in banks, telecoms and utilities. I am looking for stocks, ETFs with a low beta and good yield..

Read Answer Asked by Donald on January 03, 2022

Q: Thanks for your comprehensive answer to my question on fixed income. Just a further clarification. I have often wondered about the usefulness of preferred shares. It seems to me that they are just as vulnerable as stocks, so why have them rather than stocks? I know that you get paid first if the company goes under. But I am not sure that is a big consideration in most cases.

Secondly, i wonder if you might suggest some symbols that correspond to such an arrangement for fixed income.
Thanks for the excellent service

Read Answer Asked by joseph on December 15, 2021

Q: hello
can you recommend what types of bonds should be held in a rising rate environment and can your recommend some ETFs?

Read Answer Asked by Mary on December 14, 2021

Q: I need to shore up my accounts with some fixed income (low risk) positions. All indications are that interest rates are likely to rise, which makes me nervous to hold bonds or bond funds. I am not sure where to turn - maybe Bond ETF's? I don't want to micromanage a specific bond portfolio either. Do you have any advice on the best approach? I am still 10-15 years from "retirement" (whatever that means), so my investment horizon is still pretty long term.

Thanks in advance

Read Answer Asked by Don on December 13, 2021